By James Wanliss – BarbWire guest contributor
George Orwell’s Animal Farm tells of the visionary pig Old Major, who had a dream that soon proved disastrous: “And now, comrades, I will tell you about my dream of last night. I cannot describe that dream to you. It was a dream of the earth as it will be when Man is forgotten.”
Old Major’s vision is not unlike that of many important and powerful visionaries.
The planet has a fever and we, like a virus, are the cause, said former VP Al Gore. For some time President Obama has said the same. Notwithstanding the absence of global warming for nearly two decades the President claims out of control climate change caused by anthropogenic global warming is the greatest challenge ever to face humanity.
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But the problem, these men insist, resides not in the environment, but in the humans. That shift to blame humans is not unimportant because it implies the need for maximum control of some of the most intimate details of human existence, including reproduction.
President Obama’s top science advisor, John P. Holdren has said: “The development of a long-term sterilizing capsule that could be implanted under the skin and removed when pregnancy is desired opens additional possibilities for coercive fertility control. The capsule could be implanted at puberty and might be removable, with official permission, for a limited number of births.”
Former President George W. Bush’s science advisor Paul Ehrlich, a close collaborator of Holdren, wrote, “A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people. We must shift our efforts from treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer.”
One can only hope that men like Ehrlich and Holdren are never given long knives and the official permission they crave. Minorities, the poor, the powerless, the unpopular had better watch out.
Ehrlich is only too willing to use coercive government power to achieve his dream world. He realizes there might be resistance from ‘little’ people and thus, like Holdren, appreciates the need to use the business end of a stick. “Coercion?” says he, speaking with relish of his dreams for forced sterilization programs in India; “Perhaps, but coercion in a good cause.”
Prince Philip, the consort to the Queen of England and President Emeritus of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) makes things a little clearer: “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.”
Such views are not only among the highbrow but also found in the lowbrow of popular culture.
James Cameron’s sci-fi extravaganza, Avatar, suggested that humans are a kind of universal filth, a plague afflicting the entire cosmos. The Avatar message echoes a scene, a decade earlier, from the movie The Matrix. There the villainous cyberentity Agent Smith interrogated one of the heroes. He stroked beaded sweat off the bald head of his enemy, like rain that drips off waxed fruit, and said,
Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment. But you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague. And we are … the cure.
These quotes from makers and shakers of modern culture and politics share in common a particular view of the world and the human role. They believe in the environmentalist, or green, worldview. This is a view that humanity is nothing special in the grand scheme of things and must therefore be cut down to size. And so humans—at least the ‘little people’—find themselves lowered to the status of cancer, plague, virus, and other sweet nothings.
Am I the only one who finds this unflattering? Are these unkind characterizations sincere? Radical environmentalism is no longer the fringe belief of a few powerless lunatics; it is mainstream. Green environmental policies already have bite, affecting everyone with increased regulation and regimentation of life. The poor are disproportionately hurt by the environmentalist policies that produce high prices and energy poverty.
In short, not only the words but also the actions of environmentalists suggest that they are not so much for the natural environment as they are against humans.
Despite its often noble rhetoric about saving the planet, or doing good for the children, more than anything else the doomsday obsession with the environment is an obsession with a culture of death.
Is it the end of the world? More like the end of you.
James Wanliss, Ph.D., is Professor of Physics at Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC. He is a Senior Fellow and Contributing Writer for The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, and author of Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion, Not Death. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed physics articles, has held the NSF CAREER award, and does research in space science and nonlinear dynamical systems under grants from NASA and NSF.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.